Holocaust Memory and the Rehabilitation of the Ultraorthodox Society in Israel

The talk will discuss the shaping of Holocaust memory in the Ultraorthodox (Haredi) society in Israel and the survivors’ role in this process. The reappearance of Ultraorthodox society on the historical map, after the severe blow it suffered in the Holocaust, in demographic, geographic, ideological, theological, and moral terms, was an enigma: How did it chart a new path after it lost the core of its future generation and was deprived of its best teachers, leaders, and rabbis? How did the miraculous revival of this group come to pass in the secular Zionist State of Israel, of all places, where it was a demographic and ideological minority? And how is it that the process of recovery, which took place with surprising speed, was led by Holocaust survivors who personally experienced the inferno and emerged from it broken, beaten, and mourning their dead? The goal of this discussion is to shed light on one aspect of the answer to this complex historical enigma and points out the special role played by the Ultraorthodox Holocaust survivors and by the Holocaust consciousness they passed on in the consolidation of Ultraorthodox society in Israel after the Holocaust. Along the way, the lecture will address a number of key questions, e.g.: Does the Ultraorthodox sector have unique patterns of memory? Did its Holocaust memory follow a separate path of development, and, if so—to what extent? How does traumatic memory function as a mobilizing force? and so forth.